Teenage Angst Has Paid Off Well. Now I’m Bored and Old.

Well, I’ve been gone awhile. I could explain, but I’m going to just cut to the chase: today is the day that Nirvana gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s also the twentieth anniversary of April 10, 1994, the date when thousands of mourners more or less spontaneously gathered at Seattle Center to mourn the loss of Kurt Cobain.

When I was a teenager, I was an enormous fan of Nirvana and even while I don’t listen to them as often as I used to, I find it to be the musical equivalent of one of those friendships where you can always pick up where you left off. I’ve been thinking a lot about Nirvana lately and its place in my life, so I’ve compiled a list of twenty of my favorite Nirvana songs. I would hesitate to call it my for-sure Top 20 because a) the list fluctuates a lot, b) I left off most of the hits on purpose, c) I tried to limit it to 2 songs per major release, and d) I haven’t re-listened to everything I have.

(Also, technologies are mysterious to me to an embarrassing degree, so they’re all YouTube links because I’m the dumbest and my computer is old and I’ve been spending most of this year pining for pre-internet times, which hasn’t helped.)

ANYWAY, without further ado, and in no particular ranking:

1. “Love Buzz” (Bleach)

2. “Swap Meet” (Bleach)

3. “Dive” (Incesticide)

4. “Aneurysm” (Incesticide)

5. “Lounge Act” (Nevermind)

6. “Something in the Way” (Nevermind)

7. “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” (In Utero)

8. “Pennyroyal Tea” (In Utero)

9. “Lake of Fire” (Unplugged in New York)

10. “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” (Unplugged in New York)

11. “Blandest” (all the following are B-sides and rarities that appear on the box set With the Lights Out unless otherwise noted)

12. “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die

13. “Curmudgeon

14. “Verse Chorus Verse

15. “Old Age

16. “Even in His Youth

17. “Marigold

18. “Clean Up Before She Comes

19. “Oh the Guilt

20. “Sappy



Day 30: Not in Knightsbridge anymore

Wow.  It’s over.  The 30-day song challenge is over.  How ever will I fill my empty days?

Day 30: Your Favorite Song This Time Last Year

I missed the boat on The Darjeeling Limited and only saw it last year for the first time.  I got the soundtrack on February 27 last year.

Rolling Stones – “Play With Fire”

Of course, this beyond-epic music video came out about this time last year, on January 28, 2010, and I’ve pretty much been dancing to  “Telephone” ever since.

Day 29: But she doesn’t learn it’s him till chapter threeeeeeee

Ah, childhood.  That idyllic past.

Day 29: A Song from Your Childhood

I’m not quite sure how best to define “childhood”—legally I guess it would be before I was 18.  I’m trying to think of something that’s had an effect on me throughout my formative years.  Now, “Peter and the Wolf” or “The Nutcracker” (or anything from Fantasia, really) probably fostered my continuing love of classical music.  Hearing my dad blast “Positively Fourth Street” or dancing to Van Morrison in ballet class were important enough to my musical tastes.

However, I think that the real answer to this is Disney.

I actually hated Beauty and the Beast when it first came out.  The Beast was scary, and it wasn’t as action-packed as The Great Mouse Detective (which I thought we were going to see when the castle appeared on-screen).  But as I get older I realize that the world (and, more applicably to my life: Western literature) is full of that woman who reads too many books and it makes her “affected”: Emma Bovary, the governess of “The Turn of the Screw,” or the telegraphist in “In the Cage,” and other examples I know I’ve come across and outlined furiously in books but now can’t remember.  Belle is sort of a refutation of this type, and since I grew up to be a lit major, I guess somewhere she’s floating around in my psyche as some mythological being or other.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast – “Belle”



Day 27: You know you hurt the Maestro’s feelings.

I kind of wish I could play the French horn well because when done right, it’s very beautiful.  Other than that, I think with my minimal skills in guitar and piano, with a little elbow grease I could play almost anything (with some exceptions).  However, it would be so cool to conduct.

Day 27: A Song You Wish You Could Play

J.S. Bach – “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” (Stokowkski arrangement)

I like this Bach piece arranged for wind ensemble a lot better than the original, which is just on organ.

Ralph Vaughan Williams – “Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis]

Antonin Dvořák  – “Symphony No. 9 in E Minor ‘From the New World,’ Finale”

Shostakovich – “Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Finale”

Day 26: O Glazunov, how I have failed you!

I’ve played four instruments throughout my life, and none of them well. I hated practicing, I got nervous in front of my teachers, and I’m still embarrassed about my vibrato block.

Day 26: A Song You Can Play on an Instrument

Here’s something I was working on in high school that never mastered.  I could play through all the notes, and even perform it in pieces, but didn’t get through it.

Alexander Glazunov – “Concerto for Saxphone in E-flat”

It’s worth a whole listening to, if you are interested in the other parts.

Here is one I could legitimately play well on the piano.

Ludwig van Beethoven – “Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor ‘Quasi una fantasia,’ Mvmt 1,” a.k.a. “Moonlight Sonata”

Here is what I was working on when I quit piano.

Claude Debussy – “Rêverie”

I miss the piano.  Even if I was never stellar at it, and even though I could never figure out how to play triplets and eighth notes at the same time.  Only Salieri truly understands me.